Posts Tagged ‘AFL-CIO’

Florida sen. committee seeks minimum wage cut for tipped workers

Posted on: February 16th, 2012 by The American Independent 1 Comment

Florida state Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice (Photo: Hill)

The state Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee passed a bill Thursday that would allow employers to pay tipped workers, waiters and waitresses, a lower minimum wage than what is currently authorized in Florida.

“We are being brave and bold and being statesmen and not politicians,” said the committee chair, state Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice. Detert added that the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association brought the idea for the bill to the Senate committee in an effort to make sure restaurants survive, noting that the bill makes the new minimum wage optional.

Carol Dover, president and CEO of the Restaurant and Lodging Association, said that “during the last week there have been many reports that misreported” about the bill. Dover said restaurants want to keep employees, but the 118 percent increase in their wage since 2004, when voters approved a constitutional amendment to tie minimum wage increases to the inflation index, is hurting the industry.

State Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Daytona Beach, pointed out that many restaurant workers are low-wage workers, and Detert added that many workers are employed at restaurants like Cracker Barrel or Denny’s and not high-end restaurants, earning large amounts on tips.

Dover responded by saying that because the bill requires owners to secure a $10 minimum it would increase wages for restaurant workers who make less money now. Dover argued that data shows that labor costs are a major contributor to businesses closing down, and that under this bill there will be a reduction in federal taxes.

A member of the Restaurant and Lodging Association said workers would not make less money and owners would pay less taxes. Associated Industries of Florida and the Florida Chamber of Commerce both stated their support for the bill.

Rich Templin of the Florida AFL-CIO said that after numerous investigations his organization opposes the bill because it has not found any negative effect from the wage rate for tipped workers. Templin said that Florida ranks No. 3 in restaurant growth and sales growth, according to National Restaurant Association.

Templin said that tipped workers have a high poverty rate among workers across the U.S., and his group found a potential $2.52 reduction in tipped workers’ wage rate if the bill passes.

According to Noah Warman — an attorney at Sugarman & Susskind who represents labor unions and workers — the bill says “instead of paying the higher Florida minimum wage for tipped workers ($4.65 an hour),” let restaurants “use the federal rate ($2.13 an hour).”

Warman says that if, for example, a restaurant server is earning $6 an hour in tips, the employer could pay him or her $3.98 an hour (below the current $4.65 standard) to reach the $9.98 minimum. According to Warman, if a server is already making $7 or $8 per hour in tips, the proposed Senate bill “will be a wage cut for that worker, because the worker is losing the $2.52 differential that he is always guaranteed under Florida law.”

South Florida Jobs with Justice, which supports organized labor and workers, will hold an event Friday to protest OSI Restaurant Partners, owners of Outback Steakhouse, over the company’s support for the Senate bill.

In a press release issued Thursday, South Florida Jobs with Justice writes: “Join us on Friday to leaflet the Outback Steakhouse to tell them that workers can’t survive on $2.13 an hour!”

The “portfolio of brands” of OSI Restaurant Partners, headquartered in Tampa, “consists of Outback Steakhouse units throughout the U.S., as well as Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine.” The company says it operates in 49 states and 24 countries around the world.

(VIDEO) On Valentine’s Day, lingering questions about flower industry labor violations

Posted on: February 14th, 2012 by The American Independent 1 Comment

Sixty-five percent of the roses, carnations, lilies, pompons and crysanthemums Americans give on Valentine’s Day will come through Miami International Airport from farms in Colombia, the world’s second-largest flower exporter and a country with which the U.S. recently signed a free trade agreement despite outcry from labor and social organizations over anti-union violence and labor violations. (more…)

Florida governor rumored to travel to Colombia on trade mission

Posted on: February 7th, 2012 by The American Independent No Comments

Gov. Rick Scott will travel on an international trade mission to Colombia at the end of 2012, Sunshine State News reports today. (more…)

After union murders, AFL-CIO urges Obama to postpone Colombia Free Trade Agreement

Posted on: February 3rd, 2012 by The American Independent No Comments

The murder of  four Colombian union leaders in January prompted Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, to urge President Obama to postpone indefinitely the implementation of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, approved by the U.S Congress in October. (more…)

Florida unions call senator’s chairmanship loss ‘sad,’ ‘deplorable,’ ‘a shame’

Posted on: February 2nd, 2012 by The American Independent No Comments

The Florida AFL-CIO logo (source: Florida AFL-CIO)

The AFL-CIO and the Florida Education Association are calling Wednesday’s announcement that Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos removed state Sen. Mike Fasano from a committee chairmanship “a shame,” “sad” and “deplorable.” (more…)

What to expect from Mitch Daniels’ State of the Union response

Posted on: January 24th, 2012 by The American Independent No Comments

Popular Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has been chosen to deliver the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight. Ideas about how best the government might respond to the limping economy and tackle the enormous federal budget deficit are sure to feature prominently in both speeches. Daniels comes to such a discussion with baggage, however, having headed the Office of Management and Budget under George W. Bush from 2001 to 2003, when the country’s projected budget surplus of $236 billion ran down a sink hole where it became a $400 billion deficit. (more…)

Secure Communities task force to Homeland Security: Stop Secure Communities

Posted on: January 6th, 2012 by The American Independent No Comments

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (Photo: Flickr/The National Guard)

Former members of a task force on Secure Communities sent a letter this week to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano calling on her to suspend the immigration enforcement program.


Florida construction workers fight for unpaid wages as bill to block anti-wage theft ordinances moves forward

Posted on: December 7th, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments
As a Florida House subcommittee voted to pass state Rep. Tom Goodson’s bill that would block local anti-wage theft ordinancestoday, 35 construction workers in Miami Lakes began fighting to receive wages they are owed for several weeks of work.